What is it?

PESTEL analysis, often referred to as PESTLE analysis, is a strategic tool used in business and marketing to assess the macro-environmental factors that can impact an organization. It stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal factors. Here’s a brief explanation of each component:

  1. Political: Examines the influence of government policies, regulations, and political stability on a business.
  2. Economic: Focuses on economic conditions, such as inflation, exchange rates, and economic growth, and how they affect a business.
  3. Social: Considers societal factors like demographics, culture, and social trends that can affect consumer behavior.
  4. Technological: Analyzes the impact of technological advancements and innovation on an organization’s operations and competitiveness.
  5. Environmental: Evaluates the organization’s impact on the environment and how environmental factors may affect its operations.
  6. Legal: Examines legal issues, such as regulations, laws, and compliance, that can impact a business.

PESTEL analysis is a valuable tool for businesses to identify potential opportunities and threats in their external environment. It helps in strategic planning, decision-making, and risk assessment. Companies use this analysis to adapt their strategies and stay competitive in a rapidly changing business environment.

How do you use it?

Using the PESTEL analysis model involves several steps to systematically assess the macro-environmental factors that can impact an organization’s business environment. Here are the detailed steps to conduct a PESTEL analysis:

  1. Identify the Scope: Define the scope of your analysis. Determine whether you are analyzing the overall business environment, a specific market, a product, or a project. Clarity in scope will help you focus your analysis effectively.
  2. Gather Information:
    • Political Factors: Collect data on political stability, government policies, regulations, taxation, trade policies, and political events that may impact your organization.
    • Economic Factors: Research economic indicators such as inflation rates, exchange rates, interest rates, GDP growth, and economic trends that affect your industry or market.
    • Social Factors: Analyze demographic trends, cultural influences, consumer behavior, lifestyle changes, and social values that can impact your business.
    • Technological Factors: Examine technological advancements, innovation, research and development activities, and how technology affects your industry or product.
    • Environmental Factors: Assess environmental regulations, sustainability trends, and your organization’s environmental impact and responsibilities.
    • Legal Factors: Review relevant laws, regulations, compliance requirements, and legal issues affecting your industry.
  3. Categorize Factors: Organize the gathered information into the six PESTEL categories: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal. This categorization helps in structuring the analysis.
  4. Analyze Each Factor:
    • Impact Assessment: Evaluate the potential impact of each factor on your organization. Consider whether it’s a significant opportunity, a potential threat, or a neutral factor.
    • Trends and Changes: Identify trends, changes, and developments within each category and assess how they might evolve in the future.
    • Interconnections: Recognize the interdependencies between different factors. For example, a political decision may have economic consequences.
  5. Prioritize Factors: Rank the factors within each category based on their level of importance and relevance to your organization. This will help you focus on the most critical issues.
  6. SWOT Analysis: Combine the findings from your PESTEL analysis with an internal analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses) to create a comprehensive SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. This will highlight strategic insights and areas for action.
  7. Strategic Planning: Use the insights gained from the PESTEL analysis to inform your strategic planning and decision-making processes. Identify strategies to leverage opportunities and mitigate threats.
  8. Monitor and Review: The business environment is dynamic. Continuously monitor and review the PESTEL factors to stay updated on changes and adapt your strategies accordingly.
  9. Communication: Communicate the results of the PESTEL analysis to key stakeholders within your organization. Ensure that everyone understands the potential impacts on the business.
  10. Take Action: Implement strategies and actions based on the analysis’s findings. Develop contingency plans for potential risks and capitalize on opportunities.

Remember that PESTEL analysis is a flexible tool that can be adapted to various business contexts. The key is to stay thorough, objective, and forward-thinking in your analysis to make informed strategic decisions.


Let’s apply the PESTEL analysis model to a Chocolate shop business as an example:

1. Identify the Scope: Define the scope of the analysis as the local chocolate shop’s external environment, considering factors that could impact its operations and growth.

2. Gather Information:

  • Political Factors: Examine local government policies related to food safety, shop licensing, and health regulations. Monitor any potential changes in taxation or zoning laws that could affect the business.
  • Economic Factors: Analyze economic conditions in the area, such as income levels, unemployment rates, and disposable income. Assess how economic downturns or upturns might impact customer spending on dining out.
  • Social Factors: Research local demographics, cultural preferences, and lifestyle trends. Consider shifts in dietary preferences, health-conscious eating, and the demand for sustainable or organic ingredients.
  • Technological Factors: Stay updated on technological advancements in the food industry, including online ordering platforms, delivery apps, and kitchen automation. Evaluate the impact of these technologies on customer expectations and operational efficiency.
  • Environmental Factors: Address sustainability concerns by sourcing eco-friendly packaging and ingredients. Monitor local environmental regulations, waste disposal requirements, and sustainability trends.
  • Legal Factors: Ensure compliance with food safety and hygiene regulations. Stay aware of any changes in labor laws, minimum wage, and employment regulations affecting the shop industry.

3. Categorize Factors: Organize the collected data into the PESTEL categories for a structured analysis.

4. Analyze Each Factor:

  • Impact Assessment: Evaluate the potential impact of each factor. For example, changes in local health regulations could affect food preparation processes, while economic downturns might impact customer traffic.
  • Trends and Changes: Recognize trends, such as the growing demand for plant-based menu options or the adoption of contactless payment methods, and anticipate how they might evolve.
  • Interconnections: Understand how factors intersect. For instance, economic downturns might lead to a shift in consumer preferences for more affordable menu items.

5. Prioritize Factors: Rank the factors based on their significance. Economic factors, like disposable income, might be highly influential, while changes in local zoning laws could have a lower impact.

6. SWOT Analysis: Combine PESTEL findings with an internal analysis. For example, the analysis may reveal that a local preference for healthy eating (Sociocultural) aligns with the shop’s strengths in offering a diverse menu.

7. Strategic Planning: Develop strategies based on the analysis, such as introducing healthier menu options or investing in online ordering and delivery technology to adapt to changing customer behaviors.

8. Monitor and Review: Continuously monitor local political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal changes that could affect the chocolate shop. Adjust strategies as needed.

9. Communication: Share analysis results with shop management and staff to ensure alignment on strategic priorities and potential risks.

10. Take Action: Implement strategies to leverage opportunities and mitigate threats. This might include menu updates, marketing campaigns, or staff training on new technologies.

By conducting a PESTEL analysis in this manner, the chocolate shop can make informed decisions to thrive in a dynamic and competitive market.